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Old April 12, 2011, 01:54 PM   #1
Join Date: November 30, 2010
Location: southeast PA
Posts: 72
16 gauge turkey load

I can't find any turkey loads in 16 gauge, so any recommendations on shot size/weight? I have been considering using Federal ammo in #4. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old April 12, 2011, 08:54 PM   #2
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Tight choke, high brass, heavy load of #6. You're shooting for the head and neck.
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Old April 12, 2011, 09:16 PM   #3
Join Date: November 30, 2010
Location: southeast PA
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Thanks! I'm hoping to call one in!
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Old April 15, 2011, 09:56 AM   #4
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When I was younger, the 16 ga was still popular and you could find "short magnums", which I think held 1-1/4 oz of shot. Not sure about that, 40 years ago ya know. I don't know if a short mag in the 16 is marketed today or not. I certainly have never seen any "dedicated" 16 ga turkey loads as are now the rage.

In a 16 ga, I would go with #6 shot as l-bill advised. A load of 1-1/8 of #6 or maybe even 1-1/4 if you can find them, will be plenty for a turkey head/neck shot to 30-35 yds. Pattern your gun, (it is FULL choke right?) and get a sense of what 30-35 yds looks like in the woods, and you'll be fine.

To me,and any gun of mine I've shot it through, #4 shot, even in 3" 12 ga mag, produces patterns that are a bit thin to my liking. The best gun I've seen for #4 was a buddy's Browning 10ga pump. It was formidable. It also weighed a ton, and was near impossible to keep mounted for an incoming bird, or tote all morning up and down trying to catch up w/ a ridge running turkey. Sorry, got off track.

For quite a few years, I turkey hunted with an heirloom pump cause it was all I had w/ a full choke (Savage Model 1921 12 ga) and shot either 1-1/8 or 1-1/4 oz of #6 shot. It killed birds fine inside 35 yds.

BTW what county in PA are you hunting? I killed my first turkey, lo those many years ago, in Blair county, with the above mentioned Savage, on a SGL near Tyrone, about 1976. You could hunt all season and never see or hear another guy.
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Old April 15, 2011, 01:15 PM   #5
Old Grump
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I used a 20 gauge with #6 for quite a few years, now I use #4 in that same 20 gauge. Both work equally well for me using an IM choke and 2 3/4" shells so your 16 gauge and #6 should be more than adequate. 3 1/2" Goose loads not necessary for a bird shot in the neck and under 40 yards even though most seem to think it is mandatory. They are tough but not that tough.
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Old April 15, 2011, 08:25 PM   #6
Jack O'Conner
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I hunt 'em with an antique single barrel Iver Johnson with FULL choke. My 16 has taken many many turkeys shooting high base #7.5 shot by Remington. The pattern is very tight at 20 yards which is plenty of reach for my style of hunting. #7.5 at this distance is practically a guillotine.

Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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